Wednesday 23 January 2019

'Brave' students praised as many return to school morning after bus overturned

Gardai at the scene where a school bus crashed in Caherconlish
Gardai at the scene where a school bus crashed in Caherconlish Newsdesk Newsdesk

Many of the students involved in a crash which left their school bus lying on its side in a ditch have returned to class today.

The bus and a car were involved in the collision.

Thirty-six casualties – 34 school children, the bus driver and the driver of the car – were rushed to University Hospital Limerick by a fleet of ambulances and parents’ cars following the accident on the school run.

A major emergency response swung into action after the incident on the R513 between Caherconlish and Herbertstown at around 8.30am yesterday.

The bus was ferrying students to the local school, John the Baptist School, Hospital, Co Limerick, at the time of the crash.

“A good few kids that were in the crash came in on the bus this morning. The ones that didn’t come on the bus, a few came in by car. A good percentage of those involved are back today. They are perky, smiley and lively,” the prinicpal of the school Noreen Rafferty told the Limerick Leader.

The principal also paid tribute to the older students who looked out for the younger children during the scary incident.

“They are very brave. They are looking after the junior ones. Yesterday they were second to none,” she said.

The majority of those injured were treated for “musculoskeletal and soft tissue injuries”, but some were treated for a “small number of fractures”, said the HSE.

“A total of 36 patients presented to the emergency department at UHL today in connection with the bus crash. Of these, four have now been admitted and the remainder have been discharged.

“Children and their families were also offered counselling while in hospital and follow-up psychiatric support is being arranged through their school.”

The national air ambulance helicopter was dispatched to the scene, but was not needed to transfer casualties to hospital.

The 57-seater Bus Éireann sub-contracted vehicle was bringing 46 children, aged between 13 and 18, to John the Baptist School, Hospital, Co Limerick, at the time of the crash.

A number of teachers who were travelling to school arrived on the scene quickly and also helped the children.

By the time emergency services arrived, the pupils had all made their way off the bus.

Student Aislinn Merrick said there was a “whole load of shouting and screaming” from the pupils but they managed to make their way safely out of the bus using the sky-light and windows. She told RTÉ News how the older students made sure the first-year children got out first.

Psychologists are at the school this week to help those involved in the crash.

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